When I was a youngster, cowboys were Big Time, Big Deal. Early on, it was Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. Later on, it was Maverick, Gunsmoke, and The Rifleman. Even now, any of the many fine books by Louis L’Amour are among my favorite reading materials. Part of me remains a ten year old boy who roamed the summer woods and fields of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with his Daisy Pump 25. My constant companion, the kid from across the road, carried a Daisy Red Ryder. High adventure usually included a nickel tube of BBs and a popsicle from the general store.
Recently, I had in my hands an airgun that made all of that come flashing back to me in the twinkling of an eye. The gun in question is the Walther Lever Action. Finished in blued steel and wood, the Walther Lever Action answers in my mind the question: “What would happen if the Daisy Red Ryder grew to maturity?”
The Lever Action is a eight-shot, .177 caliber repeating air rifle powered by an 88 gr. CO2 cartridge. It stretches 39.2 inches from butt pad to muzzle and weighs 6.2 pounds. At the extreme aft end, you’ll find a thick plastic butt pad that has a large screw in the end (More about that in a while). Ahead of that is a hardwood buttstock that is ambidextrous. Ahead of that, underneath the stock and receiver, is the lever which cocks the air rifle and advances the magazine and also serves as a trigger guard.
Forward of that is the hardwood forestock which has a polymer band at the end. Protruding from the end of the forestock is a false tubular magazine made of metal which is connected to the barrel above by another polymer band. On top of the barrel at the muzzle end is a hooded blade-type front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find a notch type rear sight on top of the rear portion of the barrel, and moving further back you’ll find the receiver proper. The front sight is moved to adjust for windage, and the rear sight is adjusted for elevation.
On the left side of the receiver, there is a saddle ring and one end of the push-button safety. On the right side of the receiver is the other end of the push-button safety and what appears to be a loading gate for feeding cartridges into the magazine as well as a small rectangular hatch. At the back end of the receiver is the hammer. The Walther Lever Action is made in Germany, and I think the fit and finish are spot on for an air rifle in this price range.
To ready the Walther Lever Action for shooting, undo the large screw in the butt plate using the tool that is supplied with the gun. The butt plate comes off, revealing a chamber into which an 88-gr. CO2 cartridge can be inserted. Screw the cartridge into the receptacle and tighten it using the special pliers that are also supplied. Reattach the butt plate.
Next press in the loading gate on the right side of the receiver. This will cause the magazine arm to swivel out, revealing the eight-shot rotary magazine. Slide the rotary magazine off its axel. Load eight pellets into the magazine by pushing them in nose-first from the back side of the magazine. (The back side of the magazine has what looks like a small toothed gear in the middle.) Put the magazine back on its axel and close the magazine arm.
Pull the lever all the way down and back up again to cock the action and index the magazine. This requires very little effort. Take aim at your target and squeeze the trigger. The first stage comes out at 1 lb. 6.1 oz. At 4 lb. 11 oz., the shot goes down range with a muted “pop.” At ten yards, from a sitting position, I found I could put eight shots into a ragged one-hole group that you could cover with a dime.
I chronographed the Walther Lever Action on a day that was barely 58 degrees here in upstate New York, and I found that it averaged 528 fps with Crosman 7.9 gr Premier pellets. The factory specifies that that the Lever Action will deliver 630 fps, but they don’t say what weight pellets will do that. Since CO2 powered airguns will vary in velocity with temperature, I would expect that the Lever Action would certainly launch pellets faster than 528 fps average at 70 or 80 degrees. I also tried Crosman non-lead SSP Pointed pellets and got 654 fps average. Certainly this airgun delivers enough oomph for defending the bird feeder at short range. UmarexUSA tells me you can expect 150-200 shots from an 88-gr. CO2 cartridge.
In the end, I liked the Walther Lever Action a whole lot. It’s accurate, is easy to shoot well, has a neighbor-friendly report and repeats with a flick of a lever. Heck, if you have any cowboy in you, you need one of these airguns.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.